Capture Video Blog

A Little Direction

Not every live event videotaping has, or even needs, a dedicated director, but everything that a director would do still needs to be done, so it’s  important to discuss your event with your videographer beforehand.

Lighting at a live event, for example, can be complicated. Generally your speaker takes precedence, so good lighting is important. Some venues don’t have great lighting in their event space, and lights designed for video recording are more designed for a closed set, clunky and with a short range. If you want great lighting, the trick may be to have your A/V company pre-coordinate with your venue. Does the audience need to be well lit? Will there be a projection screen? What needs to be done to make sure your speaker isn’t washed out by the projector light or standing in darkness? If the video footage is intended to be more archival, none of this may be necessary, but if it’s an income generating piece, then creating the right lighting in advance will make a big difference in the end result.

Understanding the bigger picture also helps the camera operator. They will follow instructions, but the more information they have to work with, the better they can help you achieve the look you want. For example, if there are empty rows in the back, you might direct them to specifically avoid recording that to make it look more crowded. If you tell them to just focus on the speaker, you might not realize that that will translate to no crowd shots. The better they understand, the more the videographer can help you get exactly what you’re looking for.

Will there be multiple cameras? How about editing? If there is only one camera, then that operator is likely to stay with relatively safe shots – not too much panning or zooming  – to be sure that the quality is consistent and reliable. If there are multiple cameras, or an opportunity to do some editing of the footage afterwards, your camera operator can be a little more aggressive in pursuing interesting action, knowing if things don’t turn out quite right they can be adjusted. Editing diverse shots together can really enhance the end video.

When you engage Capture Video, we work with you to create the end product you need, even before you start. Just give us a little direction and we can direct the video production from there.

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Are You Looking For Flashy?

PowerPoint can be a pretty amazing tool. It allows people who have no training in graphic design or video production to create solid presentations with graphics and simple animation that looks professional.

If you’re doing a stand up presentation and the PowerPoint is intended to back up spoken information, then it is exactly the right tool. If you need to be able to control the timing of each screen and advance slides manually, then again, PowerPoint is the tool you need.

But if the visuals are the star, video might give you more of what you’re looking for.


Are you trying to attract a new high powered client? Static presentations can be a little dry. A presentation with some animated graphics, timed to match the voice over, can make a dry presentation much more fun and appealing. Combine and overlay your graphs for comparisons, and cut them in with photographs of action to keep interest focused. Add video testimonials or a speech from the CEO to add more depth to the presentation.

Are you the conference opener? If you are kicking off an event with a short presentation, then you may want fast paced animation, music, and flashy titles. Video gives you more options to create a higher level of excitement with a self running kick off presentation.

If your building has a screen in the lobby, or your office has a TV in the waiting area, consider creating a video of titles giving information about what you do and how your products or service can make a difference. Have a trade show coming up? Attract attention and draw people to your booth with 2D or 3D title animation, 2D or 3D graphic animation, or strongly impactful video of your product in use.

If your next presentation needs to be taken to the next level, Capture Video is ready to help you create a video that grabs and keeps the attention of your audience.

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Video Olympics

The Olympics is one of the all-time most recorded events. There are cameras everywhere, recording everything, all the time. It’s easiest to see this with the figure skating. If you can tear your eyes away from the skaters for just a minute, you’ll see that they are constantly passing banks of multiple cameras. These cameras represent different networks, different formats, and different angles to ensure that every mistimed landing or perfect quad is available in close up and every dramatic sweep and dance move is available at the best perspective for us all to appreciate the beauty of it. Working a camera at the Olympics is, in its own way, a gold medal event. And like the athletes, the cameras at the Olympics make the footage look easy and effortless.

It isn’t quite that easy, and most live event recordings don’t have individual cameras at every corner. Really, most events don’t require that level of detail. If you have a single speaker at the front of an audience, often a single camera will do the job you need at a price the budget will like. If capturing the audience participation is important to your end product, then your live event might require two cameras. If your speaker is extremely important, perhaps at the level of a visiting dignitary or celebrity, it’s possible you might even want a third (or fourth) camera. One dedicated to your VIP, one person zooming in and out between the speaker and the audience to capture the interaction, and one who will focus on the audience, getting footage of the reactions. If your end video will be income generating, it might be worth the initial expense of that third camera to get the variety in footage.

Multiple cameras will produce a lot of screen time that needs to be edited. At the Olympics someone is spending all their time editing the best highlight shots, the most interesting crowd interactions, the most intimate reactions of the other competitors, and putting it all together in a way that tells the story captured by all those cameras in a single presentation that winds up on our televisions. The most complete stories are caught by multiple cameras and then woven together.

So, while the Olympics is an amazing example of what the outer limits of video production capability is able to achieve, most companies, quite rightfully, don’t really want to invest that much money in their event video. Either way, give Capture Video a call and we’ll be happy to create your own Gold Medal video production.

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Concrete Pressure Pipe Manufacturing

I enjoy my job and the opportunity it gives me to learn a variety of things I might never have known or even wondered about. Some projects just turn out to be particularly fun and interesting.

I really enjoyed shooting a “how it’s made” video for the American Concrete Pressure Pipe Association. The production involved traveling to three different plant locations, one in the US and two in Canada. Videotaping these gigantic pipes and the equipment that manufactures them was like playing with Tonka Toys, but in reverse, where *we* were the toys! The pipes towered over my head! It was very cool to see in action. I feel like I really understand the manufacturing process of concrete pressure pipe, and, furthermore, I think that that is very cool!

I had such fun making this I wanted to share it, even though it is still in the rough cut.

There were some very interesting differences to the manufacturing process between the locations. For example, in Canada, it is necessary to keep the pipes indoors while drying to prevent freezing. In Phoenix they keep sprinklers on the pipes to keep them from overheating.

Each plant visit was fun, but must admit to having enjoyed Phoenix a little better for managing to stay a few extra days to hike the Grand Canyon.Capture Video – no job too large!

Capture Video crew are available for videotaping in the Metro DC area, the continental US, or anywhere around the world – especially Paris or Hawaii.

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Telling Stories

 

This week I’ll be speaking to the NoVa Women’s Network about my love of storytelling.

In May of 2011, I started Better Said Than Done, Northern Virginia’s premiere storytelling troupe. It’s like The Moth, only in Virginia, and, well, if I must say so myself, better! We are not an open mic storytelling troupe. We are populated with storytellers who rehearse and then perform their true, personal stories for audiences throughout Northern Virginia.

As an extension of the storytelling shows, and due to the popularity of storytelling, I have also been teaching workshops on storytelling.  I am very excited to speak to this group of professional women on Friday about using storytelling to get referrals. People will forget what you do unless they’re in immediate need of your services, but they’ll rarely forget your story. Join me on Friday to learn how you can craft your own.

Capture Video was started with a love of storytelling through film paired with a thorough understanding of how to make that happen with quality results. We can help you with your marketing by bringing your story to life.

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In The Rough

Sometimes we’ll hear about the ‘rough cut’ of a movie that might include footage that doesn’t make it on screen until they someday release a director’s cut of the film. Ever wonder what they mean by that?

The rough cut is like a preview version. Everything is more or less in place, but it still needs some final touches. A Capture Video client often has one or more review sessions specified in the contract. These review sessions are that last check to see that all the important highlights or critical information was included, or that any inaccurate or undesirable content has been removed. It is the time to double check the spelling of titles. Now is also a good time to confirm that the title design meets corporate standards, or are, at the very least, graphically pleasing.

Some things left to the videographer’s discretion need to be approved. Stock photos or video may have been used as B-Roll. Were they appropriate choices? Is the information presented in the order that will make the most sense to your customers? Are the stylistic details what you were expecting? The rough cut will likely be the first time you’ll see the footage organized and cut to highlight the message. This is your chance to add your input as to how the project is progressing.

Once the video is locked, an expression which means the content is now what and where it should be, audio adjustments can be made. Background music can be added, and audio throughout the video can be leveled. Finally, any number of small finishing touches can be completed, like adjusting color on each shot so there is a consistent look throughout.

Capture Video works on projects that vary widely from very simple to extremely complex, but now you’ll understand what you’ll be seeing if you have a rough cut to review, and what you’ll be looking for.

 

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Seriously

The video production business is a profession like any other. A videographer is a  professional and the work of producing professional videos is serious work.

Professionalism is being a company clients can trust to deliver a quality product, but it’s more than that. It’s being a company that clients can trust to participate in job design, to talk through the needs of the project and bring professional expertise to a process that the client may not completely understand. It should never be about what process is the most billable, it should always be what processes deliver a quality project that fulfills the real needs of the client.

Professionalism is about knowing your business. That doesn’t only mean how to create the thing that you create. It is about understanding what equipment is required for each kind of job, and making the investment in quality. It is about making sure that every employee has the correct training, the correct documentation, and the correct attitude, so your company is positively represented even when you personally aren’t there. It means taking the time to work through a stressful situation with an employee or a customer to resolve the issue to the best of your ability. It is knowing the advantages and pitfalls of your profession and how to work within each to provide the best service to your customers.

Professionalism is about taking pride in your skill to deliver your product at the highest standard. It means reading industry journals, investing in continuing education, talking to peers and staying on top of the latest techniques and equipment possibilities. It means taking the time to do things correctly, without shortcuts that could cause problems in the future. It means researching problems that come up to figure out if there might be a better way to solve it. It means recognizing and owning any mistakes made by you, or on your behalf by an employee, and doing what it takes to make it right.

At Capture Video, we started with a love of storytelling through film paired with a thorough understanding of how to make that happen with quality results. We added quality equipment that meets the standards required by our contracts, and we work with contractors who embrace and uphold our standards of quality and service. Professionalism doesn’t just happen, it comes with time, and care, and Capture Video takes it very seriously.

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Keeping Up To Date

Have you ever watched a training or informational video that you are certain was shot in 1978 and hasn’t been updated since? It’s almost embarrassing to watch them. They can be very difficult to concentrate on and take seriously with outdated clothing and production values that just don’t look right even if you don’t know exactly why. There are a number of types of videos that should be updated every year, oreven  more frequently.

Video is a wonderful way to present the annual report to the board or shareholders. It presents the highlights relatively quickly, and can allow the inclusion of key employees as presenters, or highlights of events of interest that wouldn’t have a place in a more traditional written report. Add in some animation of graphs and charts and dry facts become more interesting to absorb. Information videos are also a great way to present interesting or important events to clients and customers.

How important to your business is SEO? With the connection between Google and YouTube video can be a great tool to attract attention, but search engines are always looking for new content. Keep the video you offer fresh and up to date. You can include things like company holiday parties or events where major announcements are made, or create montages of business as usual throughout the year. The important thing, as far as SEO goes, is to keep creating new content. And the best part is, you can even create all the content at one time but post and share it spread over the course of the year.

And, of course, there’s that training video from 1978. You might not mind the retro look, but how up to date is the content? Laws are constantly changing – not to mention technology! Keep your training videos relevant, at least, to the current decade.

Video can be a very important tool for informing customers and staff alike, but it is important that the content be and look up to date and professional. Contact Capture Video to update your training video, inform your board, or help you keep your SEO videos up to date.

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How Do You Say Thank You?

There is a very big industry geared towards making certain that those you do business with know they are appreciated. Gift baskets are everywhere. Calendars have been quite popular. I think the most fun thing I ever received was a lovely box of chocolate covered strawberries. While they were very enjoyable for me personally, they didn’t actually do anything for my business.

I have seen it posted on wedding websites that the most valuable way to thank the wedding vendor is to put a positive review online. I think this is good advice, not just for those in the highly competitive wedding industry, but for any business. The Internet is, without a doubt, the clearing house for information and reviews. Testimonials do the most good where they can be seen by the most people.

What if you were to take that one step further? Consider giving video testimonials to your best business partners, vendors or clients. Many people are more likely to watch a short video rather than read a page of text. Putting together a few minutes of positive feedback for a business that you’ve worked with could serve a dual purpose. As a customer appreciation option, it is unique and proves that you invested time and thought into giving them something with real value. Once your customer has it, it will generally go on their website, and potentially into other marketing materials. By clearly stating your name and company, or perhaps adding them in a graphic with your logo on the bottom of the screen while you give your glowing review, you’re adding a little of your own advertising to theirs, making your time and dollar investment go just a little further.

On the flip side, if you have booked a day with a videographer to record client testimonials, and your clients have taken the time to come and share their thoughts about how wonderful you are, consider thanking them by letting them make a quick statement video for their own website while the videographer is already onsite, set up and paid for. This way, you get a great testimonial for your website, and your client feels appreciated because they get to put a short video on their own website that will help boost their SEO!

Consider taking the time to pass along your thanks and appreciation in a very personalized and lasting way. Capture Video is always on hand to help with your next video production.

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New Year Planning

The first quarter of the year always seems particularly busy for businesses implementing or developing new strategies. If one of the items in this year’s business plan is a new or improved video, here are some things to consider so you’re ready for a productive discussion with the videographer you choose.

Budget

There are can be many reasons for not sharing the budget for your piece, but keeping it back may be interfering with you getting exactly the final product you really need. There are a wide variety of options and possibilities for every project. With a clear understanding of the true budget, your videographer will be able to streamline the options she presents for your particular project and help you understand exactly what you are getting for your money.

Purpose

What is the planned end use for this video? Will it be shown at the corporate annual meeting on a big screen? It might be destined for YouTube to inform clients about a new offering. Perhaps it is the latest in a series of well received training videos. How you plan to use your video will affect how it is created in many ways. For example, graphics that will be seen online are created differently than those that will be shown on a big screen. It can also affect the number of people in a shot and how much detail will be seen. What message will your content convey? Some purposes are well served with a single person talking or demonstrating, while others might require some extensive graphics or additional photos. Understand the full scope of your project so your videographer can help you make it a success.

Time Frame

This includes not only when you want the professional to come shoot your footage, but also when you will be available for edits and other questions from your videographer. You won’t want your project held up by not understanding the full scope of your time commitment. How long a project takes is extremely variable, but you can assume a minimum of 2 weeks to edit the raw footage after it is shot. Jobs can be rushed to meet a deadline, but that should be part of the schedule, not a surprise. Consider things like major holidays and personnel availability when creating the production schedule. December 10th, for example, is not really a good start date for a project that needs to be done by the end of the year. Even if a month would normally be sufficient, it’s a safe bet that many of your participants aren’t going to be available at some point during the month. Be sure your schedule includes dates to review the video, as well as a date for final delivery.

Having a clear understanding of each of these facets is particularly important if you are looking for a quote that will be built into a larger project. Capture Video is happy to work with you on determining the requirements of your project and to provide quotes on speculative projects.

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